To put that number into perspective, it’s nearly 40% as many Likes as U.S. President Barack Obama has on his Facebook Page and about 30% as many as Justin Bieber fans have contributed to the pop star’s Facebook Page — but Messi’s Likes were gathered in hours, not years.
Messi, who plays for FC Barcelona and is considered by many to be the best soccer player in the world, wrote in a translated welcome message on the page, “Hola! Welcome to everyone. Thank you very much for the great number of messages that I have received. I am so excited! From now on we will be more closely connected … through Facebook.”
Lady Gaga beat Obama to 10 million Likes last summer, but we can’t remember another celebrity nearing the milestone so quickly. We’ve reached out to Facebook about whether Messi has set a Facebook record.
Update: Some commenters have suggested that Messi may have automatically transferred fans from his unofficial pages to his official page. While Facebook allows businesses to merge place pages with fan pages and to turn personal profile pages into fan pages, there’s not a public option to merge multiple fan pages. We’ve reached out to Facebook about whether Messi’s page administrator negotiated a merge with a Facebook representative.